Founder's story

Chris Nelson is a Yoga teacher, writer, speaker and entrepreneur. Before founding Ashiyana, he had been creating businesses around Yoga and natural healthcare for over fifteen years. Whilst running Yoga retreats around the world, he was always on the lookout for an idyllic spot where he could realise his long-held dream of creating a deeply relaxing, tropical retreat centre by the sea. 

In the winter of 2004, he discovered the magical little village of Mandrem in the north of Goa, which was off the beaten path for travelers and yet was serene and beautiful. It was during an early morning fishing trip with the local fishermen that he first heard about the palm grove across the river from the sand dunes. Once on the land, it only took a few seconds for him to realise that this was where he would create his dream, and what was to become Ashiyana. 

Ashiyana opened its bridge entrance to the world in December 2006, and year upon year it has grown and evolved into what is now one of the most acclaimed Yoga and healing retreat centres in India and the world. Our sister centre, Ashiyana Brazil, opened in October 2019.

Chris published his first book, ‘Wake Up and SOAR’, in April 2016 (Watkins). His second book, BEST ME offers a simple, yet potent model for being the best possible version of yourself, and is to be published in 2023. Together with the book, Chris is launching the BEST ME ‘World of wellbeing’ this year - BEST ME platform, suite of retreats, video, podcast series, blog, festival, and a foundation. BEST ME is designed to be a comprehensive on and offline wellbeing support system, together with our Ashiyana retreat centres.